onedotzero’s remit is to promote and showcase global digital culture and innovation in motion. Its 15th outing has just closed at the BFI Southbank. It was a festival of screenings, music events, installations, training and round tables on processes such as projection-mapping.
The work in this festival that could mostly be described as film, as opposed to installations using the BFI’s public spaces, was divided into strands. I saw extended play 11 and future cities.
extended play 11 was a series of nine shorts united by the claim that they extended beyond the boundaries of traditional storytelling and style. My highlight of this screening was Grant Orchard’s A Morning Stroll, made in Autodesk’s XSI. At just short of seven minutes and taking two years to make (in between longer paying projects) it is an animation in three chapters telling the story of a New Yorker’s morning encounter with a chicken. Based on an event told in Paul Auster’s ‘True Tales of American Life’, the first chapter is stylistically set in the fifties, the second in the present and the third fifty years in the future. The story is slight but satisfying, and the changes in the details between each period are pleasing. Andrew Allen’s The Thomas Beale Cipher was an interestingly rotoscoped film noir inspired piece set on a train. The rotoscoping looked like it had employed digital collaging, but the actual story was too cryptic for me to follow. Another visually enjoyable piece was Damian Nenow’s Paths of Hate, a CGI animated monochrome aerial dog fight between two pilots.
future cities was 13 short films imagining our urban destinies, which will apparently be mostly dystopian. My favourite by a long chalk was Benjamin Ducroz’s Möbius, a series of green triangles moving across a city. Other notable films were The Cool Hunter by Jess J Seppi about evolved humans, and is linked to the Cool Hunter lifestyle blog. Where much of this thread fell down were the similarities in the imagined future and the lack of storytelling skills. One short which bucked this trend, being both visually appealing and telling a comprehensible story was Paul Nicholl’s Golden Age – Somewhere which imagined a future in which we could download and change our surroundings.
Since onedotzero started in 1996 digital film making has become the norm, and the move to digital projection means that digital filmmakers no longer have to make the expensive transfer to 35mm for their films to be projected. Add to this the availability of open source programmes such as Processing and film and moving digital image making have become democratised; available to anyone with a camera and a computer.